How have you been showing up for yourself lately? I wanted to share this hard truth; that things we do for self-care- going on vacation, taking a night in- may not actually help us feel better if we only treat them like a one-stop solution to our problems.
While getting your nails done is nice, it’s one action, an outlier, if not implemented with other steps to make your life the best version of itself. And what I mean by that is if you’re scheduling a weekly mani-pedi, but not figuring out how to cut down your +12hr work days, the mani-pedi can only help so much.
You have to treat yourself like a priority.
And I know that we all assume we do, after all, humans are self-interested creatures by design, but operating on just the assumption is how you find yourself + 6 months down the line, exhausted, burnt out, and bogged down by things that you kept saying “yes” to when you should have said “no.”
One-off gestures of self-care are not a solution-
They’re just temporary band aids that fool us into *thinking* we’re addressing the problem. That’s why I always emphasis making a routine! Self-care has to have a pervasive presence in your life. It needs to permeate your day-to-day, and be an aspect you treat as non-optional.
And it can get tricky-
If you’ve been going through the motions of treating yourself, practicing what you believe to be adequate self-care, you may be confused when you still feel burned out. You may feel resentful like it’s all one big scam, and that specialists like myself are selling a pipe dream.
But the issue isn’t with what you’re doing- it’s with what you’re not doing. You’re not taking a hard look at your life and fixing things in, and around, it. Fixing things about yourself- habits, tics, routines- that are keeping you from reaching a new level of self-awareness and contentment.
You’re not practicing accountability.
You have to keep breaking down the suboptimal parts of yourself and your routine and build better versions. You have to strip away vanity, and self-consciousness, and honestly address the parts of yourself you need to change to elevate your life.
You have to put in the work.
And I know how counterintuitive that sounds- putting in work so you can rest? Huh?
But what I mean is that there is labor involved in self-care. There’s effort you have to exert in setting up the framework of your ideal routine so that you can revel in it once you’ve fleshed it out. Taking yourself on dates, or implementing morning yoga are all auxiliary- the real, lasting, changes comes from within. They come from saying “hey this habit is messing with my sleep schedule,” or “wow, I haven’t really been prioritizing MY needs lately.”
Successful self-care comes from taking a naked look at yourself and making mindful changes.
And sometimes, you have to wait for that lightbulb moment to realize that you were only addressing the symptom, and not the problem. Because when we do things in the name of self-care we can get caught in the self-satisfaction and patting our own back for so long that it takes a while for us to realize that these things aren’t actually helping as much as they should.So if you’re at that point, good! Sit down and consider what you really need; what aspects of yourself and your environment you need to tackle in order to create alignment in your life. And if you’re not there yet, that’s fine too. We are all constant works in progress. As long as you keep intentional, keep remembering to check in on yourself and your mental state, even if you do slip into a rut, as long as you’re aware of it you can always work your way out.